Our English dictionary has in it many words whose sounds and meanings can … confuse. In this next series of doggerel, I’ll be writing about several sorts of such words.
The first—the contronym: a word, says the Oxford English Dictionary, that has “two opposite or contradictory meanings.”
Earliest published use: 1962.
1. written or spoken expression of one’s regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, injured, or wrong another.
2. defense, excuse, or justification in speech or writing, as for a cause or doctrine.
She thought that my apology
Was somewhat thin and frail.
And so she slumped into my arms—
And I commenced to wail.
I crafted my apology
So carefully that day
That listeners stood up and cheered—They now saw things my way!